Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's

Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's

by Andrea Gillies
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Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's by Andrea Gillies

Five years ago, Andrea Gillies— writer, wife, and mother of three—seeing that her husband's parents were struggling to cope, invited them to move in.  She and her newly extended family relocated to a big Victorian house on a remote, windswept peninsula in the far north of Scotland, leaving behind their friends and all that was familiar;  hoping to find a new life, and new inspiration for work.

Her mother-in-law Nancy was in the middle stages of Alzheimer's Disease, and Keeper charts her journey into dementia, its impact on her personality and her family, and the author's researches into what dementia is.   As the grip of her disease tightens, Nancy's grasp on everything we think of as ordinary unravels before our eyes. Diary entries and accounts of conversations with Nancy track the slow unravelling.  The journey is marked by frustration, isolation, exhaustion, and unexpected black comedy. For the author, who knew little about dementia at the outset, the learning curve was steeper than she could have imagined. The most pernicious quality of Alzheimer’s, Gillies suggests, is that the loss of memory is, in effect, the loss of one’s self, and Alzheimer’s, because it robs us of our intrinsic self-knowledge, our ability to connect with others, and our capacity for self-expression, is perhaps the most terrible and most dehumanizing illness. Moreover, as Gillies reminds us, the effects of Alzheimer’s are far-reaching, impacting the lives of caregivers and their loved ones in every way imaginable.

is a fiercely honest “glimpse into the dementia abyss”—an endlessly engrossing meditation on memory and the mind, on family, and on a society that is largely indifferent to the far-reaching ravages of this baffling disease.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307719119
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/17/2010
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

ANDREA GILLIES is a writer and journalist. Keeper won the 2009 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, the United Kingdom's pre-eminent popular science writing award, and the 2010 Orwell Prize. She lives with her family in St. Andrews, Scotland, and has just completed her first novel.

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Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this to be an honest and well-written account of one family's struggle to provide caregiving to elder parents: one stuck in a wheelchair; the other suffering from Alzheimer's. It also interspersed data and information about Alzheimer's and what the medical profession does and does not know about this disease in a way that is very clear and understandable. If you are faced with providing care in this realm, I recommend this book as a way to get grounded.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Derry Wilson More than 1 year ago
Nothing hidden in this story of a family's struggle to cope with aging relatives who are declining into a kind of non existence. Fear,hopelessness and amazing courage all on the same page. The author also presents some well researched up to date information for those caring for family members with alzheimers both in the UK and the USA. Very happy I chose this book over the many others available.
varNY More than 1 year ago
As a caregiver of an early onset Alzheimers' person going on 18 years, this book spoke to me. Because of the raw emotion conveyed in this book, I knew that I was not alone in my feelings of exasperation, frustration, anger, and depression and the wild cycle of emotions that one feels dealing with an Alzheimers' person, especially in the latter stages. Many books tell a story but don't really give a window on the disease like this one does. I needed to know that I was still a good caregiver even though I would lose my temper time and time again! It validates each day's "new normal" as one adjusts to the ever changing behaviors. var
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Andrea Gillies is wonderfully descriptive of her surroundings and life with her aging in-laws and family. The tale is interspersed with scientific information on Alzheimer's and it's progression. She is wonderfully open about her feelings and struggles in coping with her mother-in-law's illness and father-in-law's denial. I found her experience helpful in my own situation. I wished that the book did not have to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago